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Fiancée vs. Fiancé

Let’s explore fiancée vs. fiancé.  To start, some definitions:

graphic of a married couple and the definitions of fiancé and fiancee

The History of Affidavit, Affiance, & Fiancé

An affidavit refers to a written promise. Its Latin roots tie it to a different type of promise in English. It comes from the past tense form of a Latin verb affidare, which means “to pledge”. In Latin, affidavit translates to English as “he or she has pledged.”

Affidare is also the root of affiance, which is an archaic English noun that means “trust, faith, confidence,” “a marriage contract or promise,” or a meaning that has fallen from use entirely, “close or intimate relationship.” More commonly known to modern English speakers is the verb affiance, which means “to promise in marriage” or “to betroth.” It is usually used as a fancy-sounding participial adjective:

“The affianced, in turn, are not children in need of a scolding, but are both 29-years-old.” —The New York Times

Affiance came from French to English in the 14th century. The related French words, fiancée and fiancé joined the English language nearly 500 years later. Etymologically speaking, a fiancée or fiancé is a “promised one.”

Is it Fiancé or Fiancée?

When referring to their betrothed, people may be anxious to make sure that they use the proper term. So the fact that fiancée and fiancé are pronounced in exactly the same may cause some degree of worry and uncertainty. These two words are borrowed straight from French, in which language they have equal but gendered meanings: fiancé refers to a man who’s engaged to be married, and fiancée is in reference to a woman. As of this date, we have no evidence to suggest that either word’s definition is affected by the gender of the individual to whom the fiancée or fiancé is engaged.

Fiancé used in a Sentence

The family quickly fell in love with my fiancé

She couldn’t wait to show off her fiancé to all of her friends and relatives.

Examples from the Web

But 20 years ago, you couldn’t move for thrillers in provincial theatres: always set in country houses or smart London flats, always starring an actor off the TV in neckerchief and fawn slacks (Gerald Harper or Jack Hedley or Bill Simpson), always featuring a drinks trolley, an attractive fiancé, a best friend and a stalwart detective who appears after the interval to investigate the crime.— The Guardian

Her fiancé dumped her and, the day after attending her high school graduation, her father walked out.A year later Ms Harris has her first manic attack, not sleeping for days, hallucinating, on relentless overdrive.— The Economist

The men escort Elsa to her fiancé, Billy Hammond James Druryy), and the young couple are quickly married.— Encyclopedia Britannica


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By Connie Fisher

Connie Fisher is a freelance writer and editor specializing in business writing and marketing. She holds a bachelor's degree in media and journalism and has contributed to a slew of printed and online media, including Contra Costa Times, Daily American, the The Tri-Town News,, and many more.

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